Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Forward

My favorite posts of 2011, tried to decide how to do this. I could base it on the number of hits and my top three posts of 2011 were my semi-nekkid pictures after surgery, Steve's first and second 100 mile race reports.

If I pick my favorites, it was my taking my broken to Jesus, rocks, and Picasso.

As 2011 ends today, I would say I'm looking forward to 2012. 2011 is past, it's history. So many good memories, lots of fun times, much happiness and love.

2012 is unwritten and my future looks good and I'm so excited for the coming year.

I don't say things like this often, but it doesn't mean I don't feel it. So I'm going to say it. I'm going to shout it.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

Not from Whitney, one of her close friends said this. I love teenage girls.

My mom says I have to start filling my own gas tank so I can learn responsibility. Why can't I just do the dishes everyday?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yesterday, Today, Forever

There is an old hymn with the words "yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same". It's from Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

In thinking about this, I've come to a realization. I believe that if Jesus walked out of the pages of the Bible into today's time all he would need is a pair of True Religion jeans, an Affliction tee shirt and a pair of Chucks. His message and his lifestyle would not need to change. He would be as "culturally relevant" today as he was 2000 years ago.

Maybe he would go to BWW instead of the well. Instead of tax collectors he would seek out the Enron CEO. Instead of a woman taken in adultery he would give mercy to 80% of the young women in our country today between the ages of 18 and 26. His message of love the Lord with all your heart and love others as yourself and modeling that lifestyle would be just as powerful and revolutionary today as it ever was.

It's so comforting to know that Jesus never changes. That he can be trusted and. That what he was yesterday he will be tomorrow.

Monday, December 26, 2011


A little over a week ago I got a phone call from the school. Whitney was in trouble. For bullying. This beautiful child, 5'4" 118 pounds honor roll varsity athlete sweetest kid ever hates bullies champion of the underdog and friendless got in trouble for exactly that.

I listened to the vice principal tell me the story (from his point of view) getting more upset with every word. At him, the school and Whitney all three. Turns out Whitney was more of a victim of bullying by the administration then the bullying she supposedly perpetrated. Not on school property, not during school hours, via twitter, and very non-specific, not racial or prejudicial. Kind of guilt by association thing. However, when they tried to get her to blame it on a friend, she owned her words. Proud of her for that.

We did discuss the written word, retweeting on twitter, and the lack of personality and the fact that not everyone that reads it loves her. Hard to believe there are people who don't love this, isn't it?

I was so upset I took the afternoon off from work. I needed to talk to someone, and I chose the wrong person. They ended up dragging me down further. Really bad day. I walked around the mall in my sunglasses, unable to Christmas shop, crying my eyes out because of Whitney's situation, how to parent through it correctly, and the advice on other areas of my life that was unsolicited.

Several days later I did the same thing. A situation sent me mentally down a rotten path. As I was on my knees that evening praying and crying to God to just make it stop, he brought this verse to my memory

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

This verse has come to mind several times since then. It's a pretty simple formula for peace. Trust in God, keep your thoughts fixed on him.

I took my Christmas tree ornament that is simply the word "peace" in glitter and hung it on the refrigerator. I think I'm going to need to keep it in front of me for a while.

And Whitney? A three day suspension for bullying she doesn't feel she did? She isn't sad about missing school, doesn't feel bad about her words, and knows she is not a bully.

I have been the victim of bullying this year, and it's not fun. I really abhor mean girls. I have found out that they exist at all ages, and that it really speaks to something lacking inside them, not the person they are striking out at. It's so ugly. I don't want that for my daughter. Giving or receiving.

So hopefully Whitney did learn the lesson of being careful with her words.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Christmas Wish

I hope you love more than you are loved,
That you give more than you get.

I hope you forgive more than you are forgiven,
And extend mercy and grace at every opportunity.

I hope you hold your friends close and
Tell them often how special they are.

I hope you take time to do the things you love
And love the things you do.

I hope that 2012 is full of peace, contentment and joy for each of you.

Much love.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A front row seat

Every year at Christmas I think about this. Well, at least for the last 20 years.

I can’t begin relate to Mary in her pregnancy in the idea that she was carrying the Son of God. But I was pregnant and not married. We did have that in common. And my brother did threaten to stone me.

This year as I thought about pregnancy and childbirth and child raising milestones I was struck once again with the difference. Even in Mary’s time Jesus birth was unorthodox. But now it has taken on the feel of a children’s story and the reality of it seems to get missed.

From the beginning, Nate has never left any doubt that he was here. From knowing I was pregnant from two weeks on (that makes for a looooonnnnnngggg pregnancy) to taking the home pregnancy test that said the indicator would turn any color of pink to purple and mine turned so dark purple it was almost black. The doctor said at 8 weeks he would try to get the heartbeat but that was really soon, but there it was beating right along, strong as could be.

Mary didn’t have home pregnancy tests or ultrasounds. She didn’t get to hear the heartbeat. But she never doubted she was pregnant either. Angels visited her. She knew more about her baby than I knew about Nate. She knew it would be a son. She knew he was the Messiah. And she knew he was born to die on a cross years later.

I wonder if that made her pregnancy, already traumatic with being unmarried at conception and telling people he was the Messiah even more traumatic? She was a scarlet woman, people thought she was crazy because she believed he was coming to save everyone including her, and that he would ultimately die because of HER sins. She was giving birth to her Savior.

I wonder if in the pain of childbirth it crossed her mind that he would feel pain, so much more pain; physical, mental and spiritual in his life then what she was feeling and had felt?

When Nate was born my mom was in the delivery room. I asked her to leave. She wouldn’t. I wanted to have her removed. I wanted to be alone. When Whitney was born, the delivery nurse asked who could be in the room with me. I told her just Steve. So the idea that Mary gave birth to Jesus with just the farm animals is the kind of privacy that I would like. Maybe a little more sterile…

The fact that he was Jesus didn’t make his birth less painful, his childhood less enjoyable for his mother. Mary was a real person who felt the pain of childbirth. She was a real mom with real feelings of love for her children, just like me.

I think about how proud I am of Nate. How proud I’ve been sitting in the stands of his life watching. How many tears I’ve shed because I’m proud of the man he is. How many times I’ve jumped up and down and screamed and yelled and cheered for him. How many times I’ve done it internally because it wasn’t appropriate to yell, like his senior awards day.

I cannot begin to imagine the pride Mary has felt for her son, and will feel when she sits on the front row of the stands in Heaven and watches Jesus come for us. (I wonder if they will get a five minute warning in Heaven before the trumpet sounds, just to let them get into place to watch???) And then when she watches him finally defeat Satan. I can see her leaning forward in her seat, hands clasped in front of her, all the confidence in the world on her face, her grin a mile wide as she looks at him step out. “Come on Jesus, you got this. YOU GOT THIS. Let’s go, Son. Whooo hoooo!!! Yes, that’s it, ALRIGHT JESUS! YES!” (high fives the other Mary sitting next to her) “Boo Yah! And that’s how it’s done!!! That's MY boy.”

My mama’s heart cannot begin to fathom what she will feel. If she was not already in her perfect heavenly body, I’m afraid her heart might actually explode.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Need a laugh? Follow teenage girls on twitter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The importance of being me.

I realized that lately I have changed some of my behaviors. And I believe change is good. I always reserve the right to be smarter tomorrow than I am today.

But sometimes…I change in the moment, for reasons I shouldn’t and do things I really would rather not.

Just because your wife couldn’t sleep and got up at 4:30 a.m. and made donuts for you to bring to work doesn’t mean I have to eat one. I do not have to take a donut because I don’t want to hurt your feelings. I can just say “no, thank you.” However, I took the donut when pressured, waited till he went back to his desk, wrapped it in a paper towel and put it in the trash.

I changed clothes to wear something I didn’t want to wear out for an evening. I wanted to wear a sweater tunic and leggings but wore jeans and a tee shirt because the group we were meeting usually dressed down. And then she was all dressed up and looked cute and I felt frumpy and mad at myself for not wearing the tunic.

Conformity is an issue for me. Always has been. I’m a non-conformist, I like my own path. I don’t feel the need to be like anyone else. In fact, I don’t like to dress like other people or look like other people or talk like other people. I don’t like it when I see myself copied, and I try not to copy others. This actually is humorous at points in my life.

If Steve and I are dressed alike, one of us has to change. If we are wearing jeans and black shirts, I’ll change my shirt. If we are wearing the same race tee shirt, I will change.

Some friends have phrases they use all the time. One of them lists things. Always says “#1…” Another one uses the term “bottom line” so much she should trademark it. I say neither of these because I would feel like I was stealing from them. And I hate it when people use MY words (cause you know there are words that I OWN, and no one else should use them) or I see my thoughts on someone else’s blog (and I know they read mine, it’s not a coincidence. PLAGIARIST!!!)

Sometime when you are in a group of women, look around. Check out the purses, the shoes, the hair styles. Look at the clothes. Do you look like everyone else? Should you? I never do. But then I would have to show pictures of what I wear on a regular basis for you to totally understand that. At the first volleyball practice/parent meeting in a sea of jeans, sweaters, Uggs and Coach bags, I was wearing Nate’s old sweatpants and a trail marathon tech shirt. In a world of e-readers I was carrying a ten year old water stained broken spine book. I have been looking at tablets, just haven’t picked/purchased one…yet. Any suggestions? And this is just one instance.

I also had the only teenage girl out of 40 who went to practice without long pants over her volleyball spandex in 24 degree temperatures. She’s a non-conformist (idiot?) too. Or is this a parenting fail?

I am who God created. I want to be more like him. That’s my goal. But the things that make me me? My uniqueness and individuality? I need to embrace that. Not try to be like someone else. Just the best me, the very best version of me.

Psalm 139:13-14
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Coleen’s Frozen Fat Ass

There aren’t many races in January in Kansas. I think it has something to do with the weather…

Steve wants to run “Coleen’s Frozen Fat Ass” January 13 in Olathe, Kansas. There is a little explanation needed for non-runners. A “Fat Ass” run is a run that is primarily experienced runners. It is a “No Fee, No Awards, No Aid, No Wimp" run. They are not races, they are runs, and generally, you need to know what you are doing, carry your own aid, and not need any volunteers to help you out along the trail. Coleen is an ultra running friend of Steve’s.

This one starts at 8:00 p.m. Friday evening. It’s a 5K loop that you can run as many times as you want in the ten hour time limit, but it’s billed as a 50K.

So how fortunate are we this year? Whitney has a volleyball tournament that weekend. In Topeka, On Sunday. We drive through Lawrence to get to Olathe. Whitney can stay the night Friday with Nate in Lawrence while Steve and I (yes, I’m crazy also, but will probably only attempt to run 25K, 15 miles) run overnight and then we will go to Topeka and get a hotel for Whitney’s tournament. We even get to sleep Saturday before the tournament on Sunday after running all night. So that weekend, what’s not to love? A run with Steve (or the few minutes he slows down when he passes me every third 5K loop or so) a visit with Nate, and Whitney’s first club tournament of the year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In my corner...

Sundays are now Anneshia, age 2 year and 7 months and Mia, age 1 year and 5 months.

Went thrifting with Whitney. Scored this beautiful hand crocheted afghan. Whitney has claimed it.

Date with Steve to hear a country band.
Made fudge. It's going to work for my co-workers.
Watched my girl put her own money in the firefighter's boot for MS.
Infected with a computer virus.
Lunch and Christmas shopping with Whitney, my mom, my sister and sister-in-law.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

Dropping Whitney off at the basketball game she gets out of the car and says

"bye uglies" to me and her dad.

Saddest part is we didn't think anything of it till Danae commented on it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I got asked the other day for my beauty secrets because someone didn’t think I look my age.

I really don’t have any. But since she asked…

I try to eat healthy. Except for the bag of Rolo’s I found on my desk this morning that is now half a bag of Rolo’s.

I drink a lot of Diet Coke. It contains elixir from the fountain of youth.

I run to relieve stress, stress makes you look older. I run marathons…this is an indication of stress levels.

I use moisturizer. And sunscreen.

I color my hair. Keeps it from being gray, which makes me look old.

I whiten my teeth. While I like Crest white strips, I still have my secrets from my poor college student years. The dentist offers what I call “sandblasting”. It’s a salt water spray. It is not pleasant, but man my teeth are white. And I rinse with peroxide.

Sunglasses. Keeps me from squinting, which cuts down on wrinkles.

I take a handful of vitamins every night.

I hang out with 15 year old girls. That will keep you young. (Or age you in a big hurry, can really go either way).

And Sunday morning in church I told Steve this one. Dress your age. This is harder than it sounds. You can’t go in Dillards and find a rack that says age 31-35 or age 36-40. It’s rough. Not wanting to dress like your mom, but not like your 15 year old daughter either. For me, I don’t shop at Forever 21 because I’m not (forever 21). I did find two shirts at Vanity that were age appropriate, and while Whitney was buying a coat at Wet Seal I saw a couple of things I would wear. I got a great sweater from American Eagle from Whitney for my birthday. But polyester and several other synthetic factors scream senior citizen. Some articles of clothing just scream “I’m one step away from assisted living”.

Shoes can make you look older. You can find a place where comfort and style coexist. Comfort is different for each of us. Old lady shoes make you look like – well, an old lady. I find these both adorable and comfortable.

Fortunately, I don’t mind being my age and looking my age. I got to be 18, and 21, and 30. It’s now my turn to be 44. I’m going to embrace it and make it a good year. I’ll let the 21 year olds have their turn at being 21. Frankly, I’m not sure I can handle that pressure. But I'm going to try and look my best as I continue to age.

And enjoy every minute as it goes by. These are by no means suggestions for anyone else, and I'm pretty sure they are not well kept secrets.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Escapades in (Grand)parenting

I'm off my game. If I ever had one in this area.

Sundays Anneshia spends the afternoon at our house. Words that are not used in our home get uttered frequently. Yelling "NO" and "PUT THAT DOWN" and "GET IN HERE" are a minute by minute occurence. Throw in the "no, you can't go outside" and you have our four hours.

Recently we've added the word "potty" to the mix.

Yesterday Steve had a group trail run he wanted to run. Whitney had a make up volleyball practice. Unusual Sunday, but not a big deal. I raised 5 kids, what's one 2.5 year old for two hours.

I'm talking to the club director, watching Anneshia watch practice, squealing gleefully "Wee Wee" every time Whitney hits the ball or "Nae Nae" every time Denae does. Clapping, cheering and yelling "ball". And Denae's mom grabs my arm and says, "does she need to go to the bathroom"? (Thanks Sheila B.)

Yes, all the signs were there. The pulling at her crotch, the wiggling and fidgeting. And I missed it. So into the high school bathroom we go.

Debbie if you are reading this, STOP NOW!

I decide to make use of this time wisely and utilize the second stall while Anneshia is in the first one. I'm done before she is, step into the other stall where she is... playing in the feminine hygiene disposal. I will spare the details, but it's as gross as you can imagine. After finishing her up and sterilizing her from head to toe, we head back to the gym and Wee Wee and Nae Nae.

Few minutes later I hear "potty", and I do remember you never tell a 2.5 year old "you just went", so we head back in. I stop on the way in to look in the mirror and adjust my hair (stupid vain shallow Gigi. What were you thinking?)

I get in the stall 3 seconds behind baby girl who is leaning over the toilet bowl, face in the circle like she's been on an all night bender. She's so little her feet are swinging free off the ground. I pick her up and notice that the water in the toilet bowl is rippling.

I told Steve and Whitney I am not to be trusted alone with the baby ever again. And when I drop her off, I find out Mia (age 1.5) is coming next week too.

Double the trouble, twice the fun???

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In My Corner

Club volleyball started this week.

Three birthday meals: Mexican, pizza and soup/salad buffet. Three birthday cakes traditional, ice cream and chocolate sheet. All delicious.

Running, zumba and more running. (see above)

Countless episodes of Auction Hunters, Storage Wars and American Pickers. Steve loves his "reality" T.V. (My two favorite shows are "Once Upon A Time" and "Grimm". Obviously I want to live as far from reality as possible).

Root canal. Still can't open my mouth all the way and where they gave me 14 numbing shots still feels like hamburger.

Steve leading "O Come All Ye Faithful" this morning. The second verse, "Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation, O sing all ye citizens of Heaven above." This struck me that they celebrated, no, EXULTED in Christ's birth. Because they knew the truth that he was the promised Messiah, that he was bringing redemption and hope for all who would receive.

A comment Mike Felder, Gracepoint's Arkansas campus pastor, made at church this morning "Jesus came to offer redemption and hope to ALL who will receive." Reminder to me why he came. I hear the argument that we should celebrate Easter more than Christmas, because it was his death that brings us life. I won't debate this, as it's kind of a chicken or egg debate, if he hadn't been born, he couldn't have died. CELEBRATE BOTH!!!

We are talking about redemption from our sins and hope for a better life, here on earth living for Jesus and eternally in Heaven, someday. BUT THIS IS A RIGHT NOW OFFER TOO! Redemption is not a one time action. It's something I need to know I have over and over.

Hope can be defined as: desire, anticipation, expectation with confidence.

I need hope everyday. Hope for restoration and redemption. Hope for mercy, forgiveness and love. Hope for healing for the 4 people I love celebrating Christmas with the shadow of cancer looming over them. Hope for comfort for those stressed and afraid of their future. Hope for the lonely. Hope for those with children far from home. For those fighting for our country. Hope for those with marriage trouble, financial trouble. Hope for those who are pretending on the outside that everything is fine, and inside they are crumbling a little more every day.

Jesus is that hope. I needed this reminder today.

**And my "25 Days of Christmas" to get me in the holiday spirit is going pretty well. I'm not giving a gift everyday, but I am looking for ways to be kind and give where I can.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rewind - again

I hit my life's rewind again. Went back to high school, senior year.

I sat at all of Whitney’s volleyball games this year and never felt transported back in time to my days as a high school volleyball player. Maybe because the game is so different, we didn’t have a libero, rally scoring, spandex, and if the serve hit the net it was a side out, not a great serve.

Went to the Heights basketball game Tuesday night, girls and boys. Made me think of my days on the basketball court. The game hasn’t changed, and the length of their basketball shorts is longer than the culottes I wore at my Christian school. No lie. One major difference, these girls got game! Very impressive.

I also get to go back to middle school on Monday, for an off-site work meeting. You know those places you’d rather never go? Hospitals? Dentists? Well, Curtis Middle School is on my list of places I don’t want to go. Since I’ve been in the hospital (visiting) and at the dentist, I guess Curtis Middle School makes it my hat trick within a 7 day period and I’ll be done with

Have a great weekend everyone! I hope you get to go places you love, see people you love, and do great fun activities.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

United Way Operation Holiday

I wanted to get my (at least) three mile run in, so I ran to the facility and Steve took Denae and Whitney with him. They were working hard by the time I got there.

We sorted food into vegetables, grains, fruit (canned), proteins, miscellaneous, peanut butter, etc. It gave me time to think about how much we take for granted. There was a huge area set up with donated coats and another room full of donated toys.

I was glad Steve signed us up. It was hard work. Loading canned food from grocery carts into boxes and then carrying the boxes. I'm out of shape.

Whitney and Denae had a good time, and have made note of this for college scholarship applications. They were happy to do it just to do it, and then found out they might be able to use this experience and are looking for others.

Good girls.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gifts from Heaven

Steve's grandbaby #3 Steven Antoine Baker

Anneshia is a proud (confused?) big sister

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


It’s only a number.

It’s Nate’s high school baseball number. I could always find him, even dressed identical to everyone else and wearing hats identified by this number on his jersey.

It’s considered to be the hitter’s number in baseball, worn by both Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson.

It’s a popular cough syrup, Vicks 44.

It’s the number of presidents our country has elected. We have our 44th president serving in office right now.

It’s my 44th birthday today.

I can’t think of anything else that sticks out to me about the number 44.

It’s gonna be the best birthday I’ve ever had. Gonna be the best year of my life. The Year of Favor. (Isaiah 61:1-3) And if any haters get in my way, I will claim the Lord’s vengeance on them (reference the same Isaiah passage).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In My Corner

Ran six miles with Steve in the drizzling rain, 41 degrees. Longest run since surgery, really enjoyed the run and the company.

Went to the mall. Realized after I left that only one store had I gone into looking for something for me, and it was a necessity. Everything else was for others. I'm not as far from the Christmas spirit as I thought.

Went out for double date night with Jake and Carrie. Took our fifth wheel, Whitney. She loves Jake and Carrie and eating out.

Holiday open house at some friends home. Had a wonderful time. I'm not as far from the Christmas spirit as I thought.

Found this on my mantel. I love this girl. Now I have to find stuff for her stocking too. And my Christmas spirit is fully intact.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ultra Running

This may be the single reason ultra runners continue running marathon plus distances after their first ultra.

Is it a picnic? A lunch buffet? No, it is an aid station at a 100 mile race.

Do you give back? (and a short convo w/Whitney)

Tis the get asked everywhere you go to give to charity. Bell ringers outside every store. Inside every store, would you like to give a dollar to _________ (fill in the blank). Marines outside Walmart asking for toys.

Every charity out there is begging for money. They all need money. Whatever cause you feel led to support (or not support) is entirely okay. It takes us all, it takes all kinds.

This year though, I've been hit up at work by everybody. Everyone has a cause. Wants to give back, and wants you to help them give to have a bigger impact. AWESOME. Seriously, it really is. Some examples...

Please bring a tooth brush and tooth paste to work. My church is adopting an elementary school and giving out tooth brushes.

We are adopting the Ronald McDonald House again this year. Please bring 5 things from the list below, or give me $20.00.

We are adopting 10 children from the angel tree. Please see __________ to donate. To sign up to shop with us, contact ____________.

Chili Feed, $7.00 suggested donation to benefit ___________.

Taco Salad day, $8.00 suggested donation to benefit __________.

Make "Santa Calls" to children signed up to receive phone calls from Santa.

Sew stockings for underprivileged children.

We are adopting the teens at Youthville. Please donate any of the following items and $$$.

All wonderful things to be involved in, but none really tug at my heart. And chili feeds and taco salads scare me, my food allergies being what they are.

Yesterday I get an email from Steve. Operation Holiday will be setting up one of it's distribution centers. His company has volunteered to set up the Operation Holiday facility and sort clothes and food. He signed himself, Whitney and me up to work a 4 hour shift, and told Whitney to bring her friends too.

Grocery shopping last night he walks up to the cart with all the things he thinks I will forget (oh yes he did) and a handful of hats and gloves for the donation box at work.

Something inside me is broke right now, because the first thought that entered my mind is, "my birthday is next week, he's in a giving mood, SCORE!!!"

Whitney asked me what I wanted for my birthday (I listed 5 things). She grinned and said "Grandma is working now and said anytime I wanted anything to let her know. We're going shopping."

Must remember, it's better to give than receive, it's better to give than receive, it's better to give than receive.